Seeing the world through the lens and beyond – Deborah Owen, Photographer

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Poofing Dandelions

Corkscrew-7 A really good writer friend of mine recently posed a question on her organizations Facebook page for Women in Leadership: “Christ was never hurried. Even in the face of the death of a friend (Lazarus in John 11) he did not hurry. What would have to change in the lives of women today for them not to be hurried?” -Karen Zeigler I had to really think about that, because I am constantly hurrying from point A to point B at any given moment. I no longer have young children to pull me from place to place and since I am now single, I don’t have the obligations of home life that I once had, but still I am constantly juggling a schedule as an employee and also as a working photographer. My weekends are often taken up with events and photo shoots. As I was driving home, an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip popped in my mind. Calvin is laying in a field of dandelions with Hobbes and he asks Hobbes.. “Have you ever poofed a dandelion? You haven’t lived until you poof a dandelion.” I’ve not thought about little exchange in years, but it suddenly made total sense. We need to take the time to slow down and poof dandelions. Even the bible has a say in this. In Luke 10:38-42 we see Martha was busy preparing for Jesus and his disciples visit and her sister Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus not helping her but listening to what he had to say and Martha got upset and asked Jesus to basically make Mary get up and help. Jesus responded by telling Martha that Mary was doing what was required of her at that time. He was giving the woman permission to not be busy, but to take a few minutes to do what was important to them and to renew their minds and spirit. I’m not sure what that looks like for most people, but for me it’s getting away and renewing my inner creative self, even if it’s simply taking a walk in the park, the beach or even going away to the woods for the weekend. After an adventure I am renewed and refreshed and ready to get back to my hectic schedule. This is not always easy, I’m a spontaneous person and I like to pick up and go, but this past year I have had to pencil in this time in my schedule, I also stick to it, if something comes up I decline with an “I’m sorry I’m already scheduled somewhere else”. I must do this to keep up my energy and creativity. Give yourself permission to take time for yourself, even if it’s only for a half hour, sit on your porch in the early morning before the house wakes up and sip a good cup of coffee, take a walk in the park or get away for a weekend either alone or with friends. Slow down and look for a dandelion to poof.

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Life in Balance

A walk on the wild side

A walk on the wild side

I was talking with a friend yesterday as we strolled around the Taste of Lee and we were discussing ways to keep our energy levels up.  I work a full time job that currently pays the bills and I work about 30 hours a week on my photography, either with attending and shooting events or on the computer editing or handling my social media. He works really long hours some days and also understands the need to chill even though he too has an abundance of energy. I shared with him I take  really great supplements, however he also reminded me I take “time-outs” or down time to allow myself to rest and restore.  I thought about it, and it’s something I incorporate into my life, and it’s become so second nature I don’t think about it.  He explained when he’s mentioned about needing to rest he’s been criticized for acting “old”, but I discern this differently; this man has learned to balance his life and understands it’s a matter of taking care of yourself.  Being older, I know I don’t have the energy I had even 20 years ago so to keep up with the schedule imposed upon myself, I must have balance or I will face burnout.

Life is all about balance.  With my busy schedule, I have to stop and take a moment to regroup and refresh, I sometimes stay in, but most times I’ll go to the park or to the beach to refresh.  If I take my camera I’ll try to capture my down time, but oftentimes I want to disconnect for a brief period.  I attend church regularly to keep myself in spiritual balance  and I enjoy reading, painting and have even taken a class, or I’ll take a day or afternoon to spend needed time with the people in my life I care about.  This balance keeps my creativity fresh and alive and allows my mind to rest and reset.

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If you are trying to juggle a busy schedule, whether it includes your own life, or one with children or taking care of a loved one, take a timeout for yourself, don’t feel guilty about it.  Sometimes this will make all the difference in how you feel  and will refresh your mind and body. In the comment section below, tell me how do you keep your life in balance?

Back of the ATV

Life Shared

Yes, I know this is a photography blog, however I will take liberty now and then to get more personal on it.

I LOVE being a photographer, I can’t think of anything I have enjoyed more.  There is nothing I would love more than for this to be my full-time job. However arriving to that point I stay very busy getting my name out.  Because of the busyness I am missing out on a lot of personal things in life, for instance;  I love the outdoors and recently I’ve not been getting out and simply enjoying this paradise I live in, I want to camp and to hike more.  Outdoor activities keep me focused and creative and I am a much better person when I have had my “green” time. I need to slow it down and take the time to enjoy where I live. Secondly, I would like to have a partner in life, a special someone who gets me and enjoys me for me.  My friends  on several occasions have encouraged me to join dating websites and I have to appease them.  I  detest this form of “dating”, I’ve given it another shot recently and I don’t feel this is what I should be doing so I’m sure I will be deleting my account (again).  I’ve had people say “you meet so many cool people” it’s true I do, but in the atmosphere I am meeting them, they are not what I am looking for.

I take up my  time with extra photography gigs on the weekends because it’s better than sitting home alone; I would love to share that aspect of my life with a man who understands how important it is to me and will encourage me. I know he’s out there somewhere.

I miss being close to someone and long to share my day and my experiences. In the past few weeks I’ve taken inventory of what life looks like for me.  When faced with life and death issues it causes you to take stock in life and reassess what matters and the important things in life.  I have had women tell me “you don’t need a man, they can tie you down and hold you back”  I don’t see it like that, I do need someone, I need to feel wanted and loved, it’s who I am and it’s what I’m about.

I enjoy my life now, I love being behind the lens I am truly blessed with the experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met, but I know I’m missing an important element and that’s someone to walk down the path of life with hand in hand, after all life is better when shared, at least for me it is. Corkscrew-7

Love and Friendship

Chris

This week has been rough, but not as rough as it’s been for my really good friend Chris.  You see she just found out that she is going to be in the battle of her life and she’s not going to fight it alone.  Chris is an amazing woman and has some wonderful friends and family who are praying for her and cheering her through her battle.  The love of her family and friends is going to feed her life.

I met Chris several years ago as we were taking classes to pass the same test and after nine months of sitting next to her in class we became friends.  She was fully there for me as I went through a tough time the end of last year and totally had my back and now as her friend I will have her back too.  Seeing her in the hospital tonight, head shaven and tubes everywhere she was in great spirits and as a photographer who has seen her in my lens was just as beautiful without hair as she is with it.

Chris and I are close in age and when one of your close friends is hit with the news of having the big “C” it really makes you stop and think about your life.  I have been really fortunate because I have been blessed with wonderful children, wonderful family, and some of the most amazing friends on the planet.  Thinking about my own mortality I realize I want to fall in love again and make it forever, I want to live life to the fullest of my ability, follow my passion to create amazing images, and to continue to be completely happy.  I will not be content to sit back and watch life pass me by, I plan on making sure those I love know it and to find new love again, and my photographic work will keep improving and showing the passions I possess.

I know I don’t post personal stuff often, but I felt the need tonight, maybe it’s my way of dealing or the fact that I want to be more open in my life which will include  not only the good stuff, but sometimes the bad stuff too.  All I know is right now I could really use a big hug.  God Bless you Chris, I love you and I have your back!

Positive vs. Negative…Positive Wins!

Photo taken by Tommy Owen of phloridaphoto.com

Photo taken by Tommy Owen of phloridaphoto.us

For the majority of my life I have been a perfectionist.  I was that way as a child and a teenager. I was the child who would throw an entire sheet of paper away if I made a mistake instead of erasing it.  If I wrote in pen it was even more difficult for me to deal with.  As I have matured I have come to realize that I will never be perfect and it’s okay not to be. I have learned to be more lenient on myself and in the realm of photography, after all I can’t take myself too seriously when I am on the ground  blowing raspberry sounds to get the attention of the little ones in a family.  Because of this I am more relaxed and a much better photographer; I can literally breathe into my photos and know what I do will be worthy of the clients expectations.  I never come upon any criticism from my clients.  However there are a few who choose to continue to try to tear me down within my social media realm. The ploy to upset me or make me look bad has not been successful, I don’t play the juvenile games of  the sophomoric minded.  Instead I choose to focus on all things positive and my future as a full-time photographer which is growing daily by leaps and bounds.  The extra funds I have, I pour back into my business for equipment, website and domains NOT into my social media outlets.  I have not placed one dime into Facebook or any other site, instead I place it where I know it can be best utilized which is in my business.  I am actually quite blessed with a very good following on my social media sites and my blog.  I also figured out how to tie them all together and utilize the benefits of doing so.

This is an exciting time in my life and so many wonderful things are happening I’m sure there are those who will continue to be small, jealous and bitter because it’s not happening to them, but I don’t have time to focus on the negative as I am too busy focusing on all the wonderful things transpiring within my life.  I have a handful of magnificent photographer friends who are guiding me and teaching me the art of the business, I also have incredible friends and family who have my back and are watching me grow and expand into a wonderful person with each passing day.  I am learning and gaining knowledge within my field of choice and honestly someone being negative has no real value in my life.  The simple-minded can believe and think what they want, I know where my heart is and where my focus is at.  I have amazing clients and I know God is on my side because he blesses his children.  He knows that adversity only makes me stronger and those that try to claim God is good yet don’t understand the simple concept of “do unto others” can’t claim the blessings. This girl is like the cream and is rising to the top, nothing will stop me from becoming successful and I plan on including my friends and family within my success.  God is truly good and I am amazingly blessed.

Thank you all for allowing me to write and to sometimes vent and to share my work with you.  We are all in this wonderful world together.  I’ll see you behind the lens!

Me

Growing and Blooming

Wow!  I cannot believe how much of a turn my life has taken in the photographic world.  I am beginning to make a name for myself and it’s spreading beyond the local Fort Myers area as  I have just reached the Tampa Bay area by recommendation.  My Facebook fan page has exploded and I have a lot of followers on my other social media sites.

I have to take a stand back sometimes to get a grip on how fast things are moving.  For most of my life I have doubted myself and my abilities, and I still do that with my photography too.  I know in my heart that I am good, but sometimes my head gets in the way and I wonder if I’m good enough.   I was called last week about photographing a destination wedding and was supposed to have met the couple on Saturday.  That meeting didn’t take place for whatever reason and I had resigned myself that it may not happen.  I doubted myself,  deep down I wondered if I was good enough.  I had met up with a friend Sunday evening and told him about the meeting not happening and that I was Okay if it didn’t, because  something else would come along.  Our conversation drifted to many different subjects and I really didn’t think much more about the wedding.  I had decided that I was really okay if they didn’t call.  Well to my surprise I received a text message from the groom to be that they wanted to book me for the wedding, I immediately contacted my friend and told him that the wedding was going to happen, he congratulated me and told me he knew I would be getting the job.  I love that I have friends who 100% have my back no matter what.  This knowledge makes me incredibly strong and their belief in me and  gives me the strength to realize I am good enough and I can do whatever I set my mind to.

We should all be cognizant of the fact that the good people in our lives are the ones who stand up for us and cheer us on.  I am incredibly blessed and take none of them for granted.  My one hope is I don’t fall short in that area with them.

I admire the work of many photographers as it gives me creative ideas and keeps my own methods fresh and new.  I follow several on Facebook, and watch their posts to see what they have going on.  I belong to several groups, some promote concert photographers, and some are wildlife related and I am fortunate enough to post to them regularly and I view their work, comparing my work to theirs.  I do realize there isn’t any comparison as photography is an art form and art forms are subjective.  I view the work of others with an open mind without tearing my own work apart.

This I know; I am constantly growing and improving my craft, and every time  I click the shutter my value as a photographer increases.  I also know that I am at my best behind the lens.

Me 2 Me

 

Photography Ended My Depression

I know I have written about how I became a photographer, but not why.  Throughout my life I have owned a camera and I would spend hours with my father in his dark room watching the images appear on the paper.  I never really thought about it back then, but I knew I was pretty good at it even at a young age.  Then life happened and I put down the camera and really didn’t pick one up again until my boys were born, I took quite a few photos of them and of course I took photos of our family vacations.  After getting separated from my husband I once again laid down the camera and stopped taking photos. I was working a lot and If I honestly look back at that time period I was depressed.  I worked, and slept and not much else.  Up until that point I had mostly used a Nikon and Canon SLR film camera with a limited knowledge of digital so I went out and purchased a cheap HP digital camera.  I used it for a week and realized it wasn’t what I wanted so I took it back and traded it in for a Kodak, it was much easier to use and the battery life was really good.  It was exactly what I needed.  I realized to get myself out of the depression I was in I needed to get outdoors and start taking photos again.

I never shared with anyone about my depression, I was embarrassed I wasn’t in control of my emotions.  I know the feeling of wanting to end my life, as I had considered that as a way out, however I had way too much to live for and could not fathom what my children would think.  That $80 camera was my saving grace; my medication in a flash card.

As time elapsed I was able to purchase a DSLR camera, I purchased a Canon EOS XS and learned all I could about using it, I started with wildlife and evolved into working with a radio station taking concert photos, what a wonderful feeling that was to get close up to the stars of my youth.  Exhilarating to say the least!  I was able to purchase studio supplies with backgrounds, lighting and several great lenses. I learned Photoshop and Lightroom and last year I was able to upgrade my camera equipment once again.  I have been privileged to shoot in some awesome venues on the West and East Coast of Florida and I have expanded my work to shooting portraits and weddings as well.  I am building a wonderful business with some great repeat clients and have an incredible following on this blog and on Facebook, Twitter and a couple of other social media sites.

I know this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing with my life.  I’m also thrilled that I get to work with another extremely talented photographer, someone I have known his entire life; my son.  He’s so incredibly talented and I don’t have to worry about him or what he may say or do with the clients, he’s a consummate professional and proud to have him as my wedding photography partner.

With this all being said, I am so sad that so many face depression daily, and some to the point of where they feel there is no way out, I wish everyone who is depressed could rebound as easily as I have, but as we know with the great Robin Williams who was loved, so very talented and seemed to have it all together, yet he was so deep into his sadness that he felt he had no other alternative but to take his own life.  We will never know what he was thinking or how he came to that decision, but I hope we can all learn.  Get help if you need it, don’t feel embarrassed you’re not alone. I was fortunate, my therapist was behind the lens.  Rest in Peace Robin Williams the world will miss you.

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